Celebrating the discovery of the 8th continent – a submerged landmass with islands emerging from the Pacific, Zealandia rises up like clashing tectonic plates to mark a new place on Earth. Carved from a single block of c.100 million year old precious stone from the remote mountains of Te Waipounamu/South Island NZ, Zealandia combines ancient materials, technical innovation and minimalist form. Like shifting subterranean plates, the twin planes of stone slice through each other, revealing a snapshot of primordial time. Statuesque, the X-figure is Goddess-like, equally graceful and powerful. Minerals and mica create a marbled effect reminiscent of the flow of drapery in classical sculpture, especially of the Italian baroque. Veins snake up the figure like muscles or skin, simultaneously primitve and futuristic.
Mounted on an Italian granite pedestal, the sculpture's geometry re-writes the 'perfect proportions' of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (c.1510), immortalised on the one Euro coin and embedded in spatial design. Using new ratios, the upright figure outlines the chromosome X, the blueprint of life, universal to all. In sunlight, the encircling shadow blends vertical and horizontal planes, creating XX - the female genetic code. With strong stance and outstretched arms, Zealandia re-defines her name-sake, the daughter of Britannia and icon of British colonisation of Aotearoa NZ. Carved in ancient stone, the new Zealandia elevates the DNA that unites people, not the history that divides them. Independent, assertive and resilient, this icon heralds change.